AARP is now accepting applications for the 2019 Community Challenge grant program to fund “quick-action” projects that spark change in local communities. The grant program, which is now in its third year, is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which aims to make communities great places to live for everyone.

The city of Shawnee is a past recipient of the grant.

The Community Challenge is open to 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits and government entities. Other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Grants can range from several hundred dollars for small, short-term activities to several thousand for larger projects. The program will accept applications in the following categories for 2019:

Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities”. This new category in 2019 will encourage communities to develop and implement innovative programs that engage residents in accessing, understanding, and using data to increase quality of life for all.  The intention with this category is to encourage applicants to demonstrate new ways to engage in decision-making about housing, transportation, economic development, infrastructure, or other community aspect.

Deliver a range of transportation and connectivity options in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements

 Create vibrant public places in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that activate open spaces, improve parks and improve access to amenities

Support the availability of a range of housing in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that increase accessible and affordable housing options

“There are tremendous opportunities for positive change in communities across Oklahoma and we encourage eligible entities to apply for these quick-action grants to make their communities more livable for all,” said Sean Voskuhl, AARP Oklahoma State Director.

Since 2017, AARP has awarded 217 grants through the Community Challenge to nonprofit organizations and government entities representing every state and U.S. territories. Please visit to see some of the 2018 winners in action, helping to revitalize alleyways, build dog parks, enliven underutilized public spaces and improve unsafe intersections. AARP Oklahoma works in collaboration with communities across the state, bringing people together and providing resources and expertise to help make Oklahoma’s counties, towns and cities great places to live for people of all ages.

In 2018, the Community Challenge Grant funding allowed the City of Vinita to complete an innovative revitalization project to improve the safety and walkability of the historic Route 66 Main Street area. The City of Vinita was able to repurpose an alley, eliminate vehicle traffic and create safe walk and bike pathways in a high traffic area. The installation of permanent ADA-compliant benches and tables offer a comfortable resting place and invite greater community engagement through outside dining for nearby eateries on Main Street and during community events. Lighting and public art will be installed to create a safe and inviting ambiance for all ages.

The application deadline is Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 11:59 p.m. ET, and all projects must be completed by Monday, November 4, 2019. Applications must be submitted through